Man accused of killing sister, brother-in-law for honour freed over omissions, poor probe

Yousuf Katpar
Sunday, Jul 24, 2022

A model court has acquitted an accused in a 2019 case pertaining to the murder of a woman and a man in the name of honour within the jurisdiction of Karachi’s Al-Falah police station.

Additional District and Sessions Judge of the Model Criminal Trial Court (East) Haleem Ahmed exonerated Noor Ahmed from all the charges by giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Three brothers -- Ahmed, Bahadur and Nizam – were booked for murdering their sister, Shehnaz, and brother-in-law, Nisar Ahmed, in Jumma Goth in May 2019. An FIR was lodged against them under sections 302 (murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on the complaint of Nisar’s uncle.

Ahmed was subsequently arrested and went on to stand murder trial after the submission of the final charge sheet in the court. However, his two brothers were declared fugitives for being absent from the proceedings.

The judge pronounced the verdict after recording evidence and hearing arguments of both defence and prosecution sides. He noted that there were “contradictions and anomalies” in the investigation and statements of prosecution witnesses, which rendered the whole story as stated in the FIR highly doubtful.

“For instance, the site inspection was conducted at Chapra Hotel, but no such hotel is mentioned in the FIR. Instead, Khalil Hotel is mentioned in the FIR, which was not visited by the investigating officer,” the judge pointed out.

Furthermore, he said, one prosecution witness deposed that the accused took out the pistol used in the crime from a small iron trunk while the other witness said the weapon wrapped in a plastic bag was kept beneath the trunk.

The court said these inconsistencies and anomalies cast doubt on the prosecution case. “It is settled law that for extending the benefit of the doubt, it is not necessary that there should be many circumstances creating doubt, but if there a single circumstance which creates a reasonable doubt in a prudent mind about the guilt of the accused, then the accused is entitled to the benefit of the doubt not as a matter of grace but as a matter of right,” the judge ruled.

According to the prosecution, the detained accused during interrogation had confessed to having committed the crime. He said he suspected Nisar, husband of his sister Farzana, of having an extramarital affair with their younger sister, Shehnaz. On the morning of May 8, he claimed, he found the two in an objectionable condition and subsequently informed his brothers about their alleged affair. Infuriated, they all went out looking for Nisar. On finding him near a roadside hotel in Jumma Goth, they tortured and killed him with a sharp knife. Later, they went back home and shot their sister dead.

On recovery of the murder weapon, the accused was also named in a separate case for possession of an unlicenced weapon.